Some of God’s richest gifts to us we tend to accept as ‘standard equipment’, somehow rightfully ours as fully human beings. It may prove a revelation to consciously cancel this presumption in an experience that is called ‘A Walk of Thanksgiving and Praise’, and rediscover, under the plenitude of God’s goodness to us, the unique gifts that have been given to us in each of our five senses.
A walk of about half an hour is suggested. Begin as you would any period of prayer: take a few minutes to relax and allow yourself to become aware of the presence of the Spirit with you and all creation, and commit this time to God.
As you step outdoors, take a deep breath of fresh air……. Reflect upon how rarely you realize it to be the sustainer of your life, day and night, and acknowledge the unceasing providence of God whose love holds you in existence and is continually creating you.
When you have walked far enough to be out of earshot of anyone, pause to consciously experience the use of your:
Use your vision to revel in, caress and enjoy, discern: colour, shape, depth, texture, movement etc……….. in everything around you. Reflect upon all that sight has contributed to our life-experience to enrich it: beauty, non-verbal communication to others, knowledge through reading and observation, protection, happiness, pleasure…….. Try to realize how different your life, and you, would be had you been born without this sense gift, or had you lost it. Recognising in all these reflections the loving gift of God, express ALOUD to God your thanksgiving and praise.
DO THE SAME FOR EACH OF THE OTHER SENSES
Move on and then stop to experience your:
Stop and really listen, even to the seeming silence in all reality teeming with sounds. Again, reflect upon all this sense of hearing has contributed to your life experience to enrich it….. the sound of human voices, music etc….. and how different your life and you would be without it. Recognising in these reflections another loving and personal gift of God, express ALOUD to Him your thanksgiving and praise.
The same, consciously experiencing the feeling of the sun and air on your skin, the texture of clothing, grass, trees, stones, etc……….. the awareness of the pull of gravity through the pressure of the ground under your feet; the sense of balance through this; reflect upon the use of touch in expressing affection, in physical work, in playing musical instruments, writing activity of any kind. Imagine your life without the consciousness of this sense etc…………… Express aloud your praise.
TASTE AND SMELL
Repeat the exercises as above.
CONCLUDE the walk with a simple, focused act of Thanksgiving:
Glory to God, Source of all being,
Eternal Word and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.
by Sr. Thelma Hall RC